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Kohl Gallery

Located in Gibson Center for the Arts, Kohl Gallery is Washington College's flagship venue for visual arts programming

August 29-October 5, 2023
Moonment is a kinetic installation project inspired by a Chinese ancient poem “海上生明月,天涯共此时” by Tang poet Zhang Jiu Lin.  This work describes a surreal and poetic night sea view that resonates with people of different locations. Aluminum sheets, programmed fans, and a heart-shaped, beating moon create a live, moving, percussive environment. People see the moon and hear the sound, thereby connecting to loved ones beyond time and distance. For more information visit:
ARTIST TALK: Thursday, October 5, 4:30pm @ Tawes Theatre
CLOSING RECEPTION immediately following talk: Thursday, October 5, 5:30-6:30pm @ Kohl Gallery
Both located in the Gibson Center for ther Arts on the campus of Washington College.
COLOR SURFACE SPACE &The Abstract Imagination

Exhibition: October 24-December 9 

Opening Reception featuring a live performance by Verónica Peña::      Tuesday, October 24, 4:30-6:30pm 

Art History Talk by Professor Benjamin Tilghman: Abstractions Pre-Histories: Color, Pattern, and Line in Medieval and Islamic Art: Thursday November 14, 4:30pm Litrenta Lecture Hall, Toll Science Building


COLOR SURFACE SPACE & The Abstract Imagination includes abstract works on paper, paintings, and sculpture from the 1960s to the present created by artists working in the mid-Atlantic region. 4 de Kooning lithographs recently donated to Washington College serve as the impetus for the exhibition. These works set the stage for an installation that explores formal elements associated with abstraction such as legacies of modernism, painterly vs. graphic styles, individual uses of color, line, shape, and form and the role of the imagination in both the creation and viewing of abstract art.  

Historically, it presents works created by artists associated with or influenced by the NY School of Abstract Expressionism and various waves of the Washington Color School. It moves into contemporary practice with the work of artists extended from these movements into minimalism, post-minimalism, and conceptual art. Finally, it presents a selection of abstract works created by notable contemporary living artists in the region.   

In addition to the 4 de Kooning lithographs and presenting the work of regional contemporary artists, it features a large selection of works created by historically significant artists borrowed from the collection of Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD. In its focus on the mid-Atlantic, the inclusion of works from this important collection highlights a rich cultural resource we have right here on the Eastern Shore, bringing a museum level experience to our community.   

The combination of works by both iconic masters and contemporary artists presents a dialogue between modern and contemporary approaches and mindsets. It also offers the opportunity to consider not only varying formal approaches to abstraction in the ways artists navigate color, surface, and space but also the capacity of abstraction to engage the imagination in myriad ways.

Special programming includes a live performance created in response to the exhibition by NY-based artist Verónica Peña, and a talk entitled “Abstractions Pre-Histories: Color, Pattern, and Line in Medieval and Islamic Art” offered by Washington College Art History Professor Benjamin Tilghman, further expanding formal and historical considerations of abstraction. 

Artists in the exhibition include Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Paul Jenkins, Pat Steir, Richard Tuttle, Leon Berkowitz, Sam Gilliam, Paul Reed, Terry Parmelee, Anne Truitt, Natessa Amin, Adrienne Gaither, Heather Harvey, Claudia “Aziza” Gibson-Hunter, Andy Martinelli Clark, Brooke Rogers,  Bill Schmidt, and Hae Won Sohn. 

On the Black History of Kent County and Washington College, by Jason Patterson

Washington College's First Three Black Graduates from left to right:

Thomas Edgar Morris, Class of 1962
Patricia Godbolt, Class of 1964
Shirley Dale Patterson, Class of 1965

This important project is the culmination of 2 years of work Patterson completed during his Frederick Douglass Visiting Fellowship at The Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, and the result of a year-long collaboration between Patterson, Kohl Gallery, and The Starr Center. The project was additionally awarded a 2020 Chesapeake Heartland Fellowship and the virtual exhibit is hosted and supported by Chesapeake Heartland.


About Kohl Gallery

Kohl Gallery fosters the study and understanding of art through a diverse range of exhibitions and public programs. Embracing its liberal arts context, Kohl Gallery presents fresh perspectives on historical and contemporary art and promotes interdisciplinary conversations about historical, social, and cultural issues of significance to Washington College, Chestertown, and beyond.

Sign Systems exhibit at Kohl Gallery

Each year, Kohl Gallery presents a series of curated exhibits that emphasize a broad range of aesthetic and intellectual concerns of relevance to our current society. Each spring, Kohl Gallery also hosts two student exhibits: the '100 Proof' juried student exhibition, and an annual senior capstone exhibition presenting the works of graduating Studio Art seniors.

Kohl Gallery organizes diverse programming throughout the academic year. With each exhibit, the gallery hosts a combination of artist talks, public receptions, and scholarly presentations. Kohl Gallery also partners regularly with Washington College classes and groups from the Chestertown community to create unique, interdisciplinary opportunities for engagement with the works on view.


Gibson Center for the Arts
300 Washington Avenue
Chestertown, MD 21620

Directions & Campus Map

Kohl Gallery is located on the first floor of the Gibson Center for the Arts. Parking is available in the lot behind Gibson and in the lots next to the Roy Kirby, Jr. Stadium. Please use the spots marked Visitor if parking prior to 3pm.

Visitor Information

Kohl Gallery on Washington College's campus is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. 

Walk-in Gallery Visitation Hours:   

Tuesday - Friday 1:30-5pm

Saturday 12-3pm


*Masks are OPTIONAL in Kohl Gallery. This is subject to change based on Washington College  COVID Policy.

General Information:

  • Admission is free.
  • Kohl Gallery is closed between exhibitions and during all college breaks.
  • Photography may be permitted on a show to show basis.
  • For security reasons, all bags may be subject to search upon entering the Gallery.


Kohl Gallery aims to adhere to all ADA guidelines in its exhibit preparations and installations. For more information or to make an accommodation request please contact Gallery Director, Tara Gladden.

Contact Kohl Gallery

Tara Gladden
Director and Curator for Kohl Gallery

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Kohl Gallery is is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council (




2022-23 Season


Kohl Gallery in conjunction with the Art + Art History Department at Washington College is pleased to present, Rhythm and Repetition, the 2023 Studio Art Senior Capstone Exhibition, on view from April 21 - May 12.  An opening reception featuring short artist talks at 5pm presented by each artist will be held on Friday, April 21 from 4:30-6:30pm. Light refreshments will be served. The reception and ongoing exhibition are free and open to the public. Join us to celebrate these artists' accomplishments. All are warmly invited to attend. 


Kohl Gallery is pleased to present this year's 

100 Proof Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition 

Each year students across the Washington College campus from all majors are invited to submit their artwork for inclusion in this professional juried exhibition. Join us for the opening reception on March 24 from 4:30-6pm. Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

This year's juror is WC alum, Kris Kelley. Kris earned her B.A. at Washington College in Psychology and Studio Art. She moved to Philadelphia to pursue her Master’s of Fine Art and Certificate in Teaching at Temple University. In 2022, she returned to the Eastern Shore with her husband. She is a professional photographer, practicing artist, an arts educator and administrator. She is currently serving as Arts Education Coordinator at RiverArts.  Kelley gives a talk on March 30 at 5pm at Larrabee Arts Center..

kris kelley


Kohl Gallery and the Rose O'Neill Literary House present:





January 30 - March 7, 2023, Exhibition in Kohl Gallery

SmooOOoOoooooOooth Operator: the eternal outlays ennoble and rekindle an unlikely savior

Walk-in Gallery Hours: Tues., Thurs., Fri., 1:30-5pm, Wed., 4-7pm, Sat., 12-3pm

Kohl Gallery and the Rose O’Neill Literary House are pleased to announce the solo exhibition SmooOOoOoooooOooth Operator: the eternal outlays ennoble and rekindle an unlikely savior, featuring the work of artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed. Rasheed will present photographs, videos, drawings, and prints on various substrates. Together, these works create an evolving ecosystem of Rasheed’s ongoing research into machine learning and its relationship to translation, Islamic mysticism, divination practices, the eroticism of constraint and edging, and call-and-response traditions.  

A learner foremost, Rasheed’s practice grapples with the poetics of Black knowledge production, information technologies, [un]learning, and belief formation. With interest in the rituals and technologies we use to generate, share, and conceal knowledge, Rasheed’s sprawling practice includes architecturally-scaled Xerox-based collages; large-scale public installations; publications; prints; digital archives; lecture-performances; library interventions; performance scores; poems/poetic gestures; video; and other forms yet to be determined. SmooOOoOoooooOooth Operator: the eternal outlays ennoble and rekindle an unlikely savior continues her inquiries into learning and knowledge production through an iterative process that began in 2020. As she worked through this process, she considered Walter Benjamin’s 1923 assertion that 

Just as a tangent touches a circle lightly and at but one point, with this touch rather than with the point setting the law according to which it is to continue on its straight path to infinity, a translation touches the original lightly and only at the infinitely small point of the sense, thereupon pursuing its own course.

In September 2020, Rasheed was invited by P! to facilitate a generative writing activity over Zoom. She asked participants to select the text nearest to them and type four words into the chat window. Using these words, Rasheed had 37 minutes to combine these words into a piece of writing. In 2021, Rasheed was invited to present at the Computer Mouse Conference and Rasheed presented Algorithmic Music Composition Using Approximate Mouse Coordinates. Inspired by FLUXUS member Benjamin Patterson’s Ants (1960-62), Rasheed reviewed the screen recording of her 2020 writing process with P! and translated the mouse coordinates into sound by creating a simple algorithm that established a relationship between the concentration of mouse locations in different quadrants to output sound. In early 2022, Rasheed continued to play with this piece of writing through OuLiPo tools like N + 7 and other constrained writing techniques, arriving at a sentence that felt most akin to Lyn Hejinian’s description of an “open text.”

the eternal outlays ennoble and rekindle an unlikely savior

In late 2022, for the first iteration of Smooooooooooooooth Operator at University of Georgia - Athens, Rasheed worked with the sentence above in collaboration with a text-to-image machine learning tool called MidJourney. Using a specific syntax, text tokenization, and characteristic commands, Rasheed created a series of output images which she combined with her existing work and gestures to create new compositions. These four works show up as large asemic prints printed on acetate, silk, photo paper, and CNC-carved piece mounted on wood. Alongside these works are several photographs and a video work, Smooth Operetta plays in the space. It morphs Sade’s well-known Smooth Operator into a series of absurd lyrics that riff on both OuLiPo practices and early GPT-2 outputs. The 2023 continuation of the work at Kohl Gallery includes new wall and paper drawings and a reimagined installation of the existing work. Foregrounded is Rasheed’s concern with the “menace of smoothness” or the tendency toward standardization and forced patterning by disregarding dirty data (or noise) in the service of fulfilling the audience’s expectations. Thinking alongside Prem Krishnamurthy’s notions of “bumpiness” and Harryette Mullen’s discussion of mistranslation and slippage, SmooOOoOoooooOooth Operator: the eternal outlays ennoble and rekindle an unlikely savior is invested in modes of reading, writing, thinking, and being that embrace the in-progress, the unfinished, the feral. Often concerned with the stages leading up to rendering an image or text, rather then the resulting output only, SmooOOoOoooooOooth Operator: the eternal outlays ennoble and rekindle an unlikely savior invites us into an ongoing process and unfinished works. 


*For the health and safety of our visitors and our staff (who are immune-compromised people), please bring a mask with you to the events. Thank you for your empathy!

January 30, 5:30pm, Tawes Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts

Lecture: The Erotics of Translation

In this lecture, Rasheed will build on her September 2022 Poetry Project presentation to explore translation as a container to explore how and why we desire comprehension across fields of difference. Exhibition opening reception immediately following the lecture in Kohl Gallery.

January 31, 5:30pm, Rose O’Neill Literary House

Workshop: Feral Play

In this workshop, participants are invited to play! Participants will be invited to perform a series of writing and drawing prompts encouraging us to think about the relationships between copies, mimics, and iterations. 



A learner, Kameelah Janan Rasheed (she/they), grapples with the poetics-pleasures-politics of Black knowledge production, information technologies, [un]learning, and belief formation. They are a recipient of a 2022 Schering Stiftung Award for Artistic Research, a 2022 Creative Capital Award, and a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Arts. Rasheed is the author of three artist’s books: An Alphabetical Accumulation of Approximate Observations (Endless Editions, 2019), No New Theories (Printed Matter, 2019), and the digital publication Scoring the Stacks (Brooklyn Public Library, 2021). Their writing has appeared in Triple Canopy, The New Inquiry, Shift Space, Active Cultures, and The Believer. They are an adjunct instructor at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a Critic at Yale School of Art, Sculpture, and a Mentor-in-Residence with NEW Inc. Rasheed is represented by NOME Gallery in Berlin, Germany. 

This program is presented collaboratively by Kohl Gallery and the Rose O’Neill Literary House in celebration of its 50th Anniversary and is sponsored in part by the Hedgelawn Foundation and the Maryland State Arts Council. The exhibition Smooooooooooooooth Operator was first shown at University of Georgia-Athens and we are happy to host this second iteration of the project at Washington College.





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The RADIANT MATERIAL exhibition features the work of contemporary artists Roxana Azar, Tommy Bobo, Daniel Conrad, David Gladden, and Lindsay Packer - all of whom are working with light. Their various practices investigate topics that include light as subject and material, the perceptual experience of color and light in space and time, custom designed and experimental systems and processes, innovative material exploration, and conceptual affinities with ideas drawn from science and math. Offered in collaboration with the McLain Program for Environmental Studies, light as a material focus for this expansive program is inspired by the Radiant Echo permanent light installation in the McLain Atrium of the Toll Science Center which pays homage to Washington College’s history as a premiere teaching and research center for American pyrotechnics. This expansive program includes the Radiant Echo Student Photo Contest and Exhibition, artist talks, and additional special programs to be announced throughout the semester.
OPENING RECEPTION: September 15, 4:30-6:30pm, Kohl Gallery
Free and open to the public. Light refreshements will be served.

Inauguration Opening Reception and Exhibition Tour

Celebrate Washington College’s innovative spirit and unique history as a premiere teaching and research center for American pyrotechnics through the impressive medium of light art. Join Kohl Gallery Director and Curator Tara Gladden for a tour that begins at the Radiant Material group light exhibition in Kohl Gallery and culminates at the Radiant Echo permanent light installation in the McLain Atrium of the Toll Science Center at sunset. 

OPENING RECEPTION: RADIANT ECHO STUDENT PHOTO CONTEST EXHIBITION: October 27, 4:30pm, Kohl Gallery. Contest winners will be announced and photos chosen by Juror, Roxana Azar will be on display. Light refreshments will be served.

TOMMY BOBO Artist Talk: November 2, 4:30pm, Kohl Gallery
Free and open to the public.
2021-22 Season


sce poster

Kohl Gallery in conjunction with the Art + Art History Department at Washington College is pleased to present, nothing to do but be with ourselves, the 2022 Studio Art Senior Capstone Exhibition, on view from April 22 - May 13. An opening reception featuring short artist talks presented by each artist will be held on Friday, April 22 from 4:30-6:30pm. Light refreshments will be served. The reception and ongoing exhibition are free and open to the public. Join us to celebrate these artists' accomplishments. All are warmly invited to attend. 




Artist Talk by this years' Juror, Hae Won Sohn is supported in part by Phi Beta Kappa, Theta of Maryland.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION: Each year students across the Washington College campus from all majors are invited to submit their artwork for inclusion in this professional juried exhibition. Additionally, this year's exhibition is being coordinated by Kohl Gallery Arts Management intern, student Lillian Schimp.  Congratulations to all of those participating in this year's exhibition!


PRY is an environmental art exhibition in 2 locations by Baltimore-based artist, Stephanie Garon.  It can be experienced inside Kohl Gallery and outside Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall on a public walking path. It uses the invasive plant species Phragmites australis as subject and material to explore issues related to humanity's impact on the environment. PRY is the third and last in a year-long series initiated by Kohl Gallery to present art by artists working at the intersection of environmental and ecological issues and is presented collaboratively by Washington College's Center for Environment and Society, River and Field Campus, and Kohl Gallery. Both installations are free and open to the public. 
Garon will give a public artist talk on Thursday, February 10 at 6pm in Tawes Theatre in Gibson Center for the Arts.  
This program is supported in part with funding from the Maryland State Arts Council ( and the Kent Cultural Alliance (



For over 10 years Mapping Meaning has brought together artists, scientists and scholars to explore new modes of acting in the face of social and ecological emergency. This wildly interdisciplinary and multi-generational collective supports the creative work and scholarship of those pushing disciplinary boundaries. 

Inspired by a photograph from 1918 depicting an all-female survey crew, the project encompasses experimental workshops, exhibitions and transdisciplinary research. To date there have been six workshops held at field stations in the USAmerican West.  These interactive and field-based gatherings flourish at the intersections of art, science, and imagination and have featured time traveling pre-apocalyptic performances, storytelling walks, the study of edges and desert ecotones, the mapping of ant homes, reimagined sculptural leveling rods, emergent and site-responsive voice, song, poetry and breath cameras to name just a few. Over the past 2 years Mapping Meaning has also generated 4 issues of an interdisciplinary journal with our most recent focused on “Life after the Anthropocene.”

This exhibition, "Encounters and Entanglements: The Art of Mapping Meaning," features artwork from those within the collective to highlight ways experimental, process-driven methods as well as interdisciplinary and collaborative practices offer up avenues for agency and transformation: plants become sculpture and image; participatory performance doubles as community action; family history uncovers environmental legacy; birds communicate the future; poetry speaks new forms into being; and collaborative processes make and unmake worlds. Utilizing divergent approaches and a diversity of media, each artist or collaborative project examines the messy and complicated yet lively and beautiful encounters between people and more-than-human worlds. Together they reveal ways that our ecological condition is directly entangled with how we see ourselves as individuals and how as individuals we live in relationship with each other.

This program is supported in part by the Hedgelawn Foundation, Maryland State Arts Council ( and Phi Beta Kappa, Washington College Chapter.



All events are FREE and OPEN to the public.


Ros Murray: hi mountain, hi water
Location: Live broadcast from Ireland inside Kohl Gallery,  ZOOM and streaming on YouTube.
A starting point for "hi mountain, hi water" is the memory of a child calling and waving ‘hi plane’ on the runway during the artist’s flight from Ireland to Montana for Mapping Meaning 2018.  What’s big enough to handle, but small enough to care about? Ros Murray shares the absorption of her studio to connect psychological, geographic, temporal, advocacy, and art making sites in Ireland (The River Barrow Valley in Carlow, the Beara Peninsula in Cork), America (Montana, Los Angeles, New York, New Mexico and the US Border) and England (The John Bowlby Memorial Conference 2018 London, New Movements in Walking 2019 at Plymouth University), with the Kohl Gallery at Washington College live through the online platform Zoom.
4:30pm: PANEL
Mapping Meaning: Praxis for Ecological Futures
LIVE, in-person with Mapping Meaning Members:
Krista Caballero, Carmina Sánchez-del-Valle, Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, faciltated by Kohl Gallery Director and Curator, Tara Gladden
Location: LIVE in Tawes Theatre in the Gibson Center for the Arts, 1st Floor 
and streaming on YouTube.
Karina Aguilera Skvirsky: How to Build a Wall and Other Ruins
Location: LIVE in-person in Kohl Gallery and streaming on YouTube
Employing photographs of Incan rocks as raw building materials, Skvirsky’s live participatory performance doubles as a community action, with the audience assisting in the building of an ephemeral Incan border wall within the gallery. The participatory performance links popular narratives concerning the persistence of pre-Columbian identity with current discourses about borders, migration, and nationhood.


Jahan Bose's paintings, works on paper, performances, workshops, and installations are symbolic narratives. She moves strategically across media and disciplines - often incorporating science and policy into her work to address complex issues that address gender, women's literacy and sexuality, and climate change. The sari is a recurring symbol in her work, standing in for herself, the female body, and women's place in the world. Water is also an enduring theme, speaking to life, climate, sustenance, death, and renewal. She is a Bangladeshi and American artist, lawyer, mother, and activist on women's issues and the environment.

Jahan Bose's Kohl Gallery exhibit, "RENEW," will include a selection of saris, paintings, prints, sculptures, artist books, and performance videos that represent her wide-ranging socially engaged practice and recent work exploring issues surrounding climate change within the context of COVID quarantine with communities in Bangladesh and Washington DC.  The exhibit will be accompanied by an artist talk and a climate pledge workshop in which our community's pledges will create a new climate sari.

Learn more about Jahan Bose's work and community engaged process here: